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Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal Communication. “The World Beyond Words”. What is Nonverbal Communication?. “Messages expressed by nonlinguistic means.” Includes silent behaviors, environment, artifacts, and vocal intonation Is a powerful mode of communication.

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Nonverbal Communication

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  1. Nonverbal Communication “The World Beyond Words”

  2. What is Nonverbal Communication? • “Messages expressed by nonlinguistic means.” • Includes silent behaviors, environment, artifacts, and vocal intonation • Is a powerful mode of communication

  3. Characteristics/Principles of Nonverbal Communication

  4. All Behavior hasCommunicative Value • Because we “cannot not communicate” • May be intentional, but is often unconscious • Although we’re always sending messages through our nonverbals, these messages aren’t always received. • We especially pay attention to nonverbals when they contradict verbal communication.

  5. Nonverbal Communication is Primarily Relational • Responsiveness • Communicates our interest in others’ communication • Women are generally more responsive than men • People in lower-power positions tend to be better at reading nonverbals • Liking – Positive or negative feelings about others • Power • Touch • Violence and Abuse • Space • Silence

  6. (A little more about the relational nature of nonverbals) • Nonverbals are especially important: • For identity management • In defining our relationships (e.g., level of intimacy) • For expressing emotions we don’t want to express, can’t express, or don’t know we’re feeling

  7. NonverbalCommunicationis Ambiguous • The same nonverbal can have multiple meanings • For example: • “I’m feeling content” smiles • “I’m feeling a little stressed” smiles • “I’m a bit sad” smiles • “I can’t believe you just did that” smiles • “How do I get out of this conversation?” smiles

  8. Nonverbal Communication Reflects Cultural Values Some Examples… • Space • Americans tend to value more personal space than many other cultures • Men tend to value more personal space than women • Touch (Knapp, 1972) • Americans – 2 touches per hour • British – 0 touches per hour • Parisians – 110 touches per hour • Puerto Ricans – 180 touches per hour • Eye-Contact • In North-America: frankness, assertiveness, honesty • In many Asian and northern-European countries: abrasive & disrespectful • In Brazil: more intense eye-contact is the norm

  9. Nonverbal Communication – (Continued)

  10. The Interplay Between Verbal and Nonverbal Communication • Repeating • Your nonverbals simply repeat what you’ve said • Substituting • Your nonverbals replace language • Emblems (e.g., nodding) • Complementing & Accenting • Your nonverbals add depth and meaning to your language • Illustrators/Affect displays • Regulating • Your nonverbals help regulate the conversation • Contradicting • You say one thing, but your nonverbals say another

  11. Deception • Nonverbals are under less conscious control, so deception is more likely to be revealed through our nonverbals. • High self-monitors and people who have lots of practice in deception are most successful at it. • Women tend to be better at detecting deception. • “Deceivers” tend to make more speech errors, to hesitate, to have higher vocal pitch, to fidget, blink their eyes more, and shift their posture more.

  12. Different Types of Nonverbal Communication

  13. Face and Eyes

  14. Face and Eyes • Over 1000 distinct facial expressions • Eyes can be especially expressive • “Windows to the soul” • Men and women have been found to be equally expressive • Men show the most emotion in the lower left quadrant of their face • Women show emotion over their whole face

  15. Body Movement/Kinesics • Body posture • Gestures • Manipulators/Fidgeting An aside…

  16. Touch • Touching is considered essential and therapeutic • Touching can influence liking and compliance • Is used to show intimacy or power/control • People with high status touch others/invade others’ spaces more than people with lower status

  17. Voice/Paralanguage • Consists of vocal tone, speed, pitch, volume, number and length of pauses, and disfluencies (“um”s, “ah”s), etc. • Paralanguage tends to be more powerful than language • Affects how other’s perceive us • Stereotyping (e.g., accents, vocabulary, grammar • Influenced by culture, gender, class (intentionally or unintentionally) An illustration…

  18. Try saying “You love me” to convey the following meanings: • You really do? I hadn’t realized that. • That ploy won’t work. I told you we’re through. • You couldn’t possibly love me after what you did! • Me? I’m the one you love? • You? I didn’t think you loved anyone.

  19. Silence • Can communicate contentment, awkwardness, anger, respect, thoughtfulness, empathy • Can also be disconfirming

  20. Space/Proxemics Personal Space • Intimate distance • Personal distance • Social distance • Public distance Barrier behaviors and territory You are here

  21. Time/Chronemics • Our use of time reflects: • Power/status • Cultural norms • Expectations • Interpersonal priorities

  22. Physical Appearance • “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” • We tend to notice obvious things first (gender, race), then note attractiveness • Physically attractive people generally are perceived better • Importance placed on physical appearance can be very damaging • It’s what we do with it that’s most important

  23. Artifacts • Include clothing, jewelry, personal belongings, accessories, etc. • Communicate economic level, educational level, trustworthiness, social position, level of sophistication, economic background, social background, educational background, level of success, moral character, masculinity/femininity • Important part of first impressions

  24. Environment • Communicates something about you • We surround ourselves with things that are important/meaningful to us • Use artifacts to define our territory • Can influence interactions • How people use an environment communicates something about them

  25. Some Guidelines for Improving Nonverbal Communication

  26. Monitor Your Nonverbal Communication • Be Tentative When Interpreting Others’ Nonverbal Communication • Nonverbals are personal and ambiguous • Personal Qualifications: • Take responsibility for your interpretations • Use “I” language to check your perceptions of nonverbals • Contextual Qualifications: • Be aware of how the context might be influencing others’ nonverbals • Be aware of how different cultural norms might influence others’ nonverbals • Be careful not to jump to conclusions based on your own cultural norms

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